Always With the New...


I'm the type of person that always wants to know about whatever is new. You could say this tendency or habit is cultural or perhaps learned, but either way, I have it. There are so many websites and industries built upon these values and I've had this growing uncomfortableness with how inevitable it all feels.

Fig. A Spartus Alarm Clock Radio Circa 1979-84

Fig. A Spartus Alarm Clock Radio Circa 1979-84

Fig B. Emerson Research Alarm Clock circa 2007

Fig B. Emerson Research Alarm Clock circa 2007

In some areas of life it's much easier to ignore. For instance- I have been using the same bed side clock for 6 and a half years. Before that, I had the same one for almost 25 years (Fig A.) and I've now moved it to my daughter's room. (I'd call them alarm clocks, but I haven't used the alarm since 2007 when I started using the alarm on my iPhone.) The new(er) one (Fig. B) even has some sort of fancy feature that adjusts for daylight savings time and resets itself after power outages. What's crazy is that I really don't care about the extra features as the old one was working just fine. In fact, the only reason I got a new one was because we couldn't find the old one after a move.

Contrast the above with cameras, computers and phones. There are rumor sites dedicated to leaking even the smallest of details about the newest tech right around the corner. I have, at numerous times over the past few years, found myself checking certain sites or subscribing to them even when I'm clearly not in need of anything new. So Stupid.

Lately I've been trying to really consider the usefulness of each item I own and even the wisdom in keeping things that I don't use often. I've done this a few times over the years and have paired down different areas of my life, but I'm hoping to zero in on a more long-term solution.

One particular camera review site recently took heat from a bunch of its readers over a review and it got my friend Roger and I talking about this stuff. The obvious errors made him feel like not visiting the site anymore and I commented that I found its extremely detailed reviews useful when I had bought a couple cameras over the years, but though we both acknoweldged its usefullness for this purpose, we were still going there and looking all the time.

That's the thing though. It's hard to stop looking. What if something new comes out and I'm not paying attention? What if I spend my hard earned money on a new gadget only to have a new one come out next week making mine obsolete? What if the new one is 50% faster than mine or has bettter connectivity, or a better interface? What if something new arrives on the scene and I'm not an early adopter?

Quite simply, something new being revealed doesn't make mine any less capable or my life any less full.

How many times have you heard this?

Do you actually believe it? I say that I believe it, but I still find myself inexplicably drawn to rumor sites, camera stores, and tech websites. There is always something new.

I recently read something written by Greg Storey that feels spot on-

The discovery of new things is a lot of fun, but I'm feeling the need for fewer options, fewer distractions. It's time to put less emphasis on discovery and more on appreciation and application. From here on out I'm going to look at my home, my life, like a museum values their permanent collection. Everything will be considered for how it works in the existing collection, the existing ecosystem.

Man, that sounds like a good idea.